A busy NEOM End of Year…

Lavie Tidhar‘s excellent new novel NEOM has received a number of great reviews since its publication. The second novel in the CENTRAL STATION setting, it is published by Tachyon Publications. Here’s the synopsis…

The city known as Neom is many things to many beings, human or otherwise. It is a tech wonderland for the rich and beautiful, an urban sprawl along the Red Sea, and a port of call between Earth and the stars.

In the desert, young orphan Elias has joined a caravan, hoping to earn his passage off-world. But the desert is full of mechanical artefacts, some unexplained and some unexploded. Recently, a wry, unnamed robot has unearthed one of the region’s biggest mysteries: the vestiges of a golden man.

In Neom, childhood affection is rekindling between loyal shurta-officer Nasir and hardworking flower-seller Mariam. But Nasu, a deadly terrorartist, has come to the city with missing memories and unfinished business. Just one robot can change a city’s destiny with a single rose—especially when that robot is in search of lost love.

Lavie Tidhar’s (Unholy Land, The Escapement) newest lushly immersive novel, Neom, which includes a guide to the Central Station universe, is at turns gritty, comedic, transportive, and fascinatingly plausible.

If you haven’t yet read either CENTRAL STATION or NEOM, and are interested in giving the setting a try, the new short story THE SMELL OF ORANGE GROVES was published by Clarkesworld (way back in issue #62), and is available in text and audio.

For podcast enthusiasts, Lavie recently appeared as a guest on the Coode Street Podcast.

NEOM has also received another glowing review, this time from the Los Angeles Public Library:

NEOM is a thoughtful, beautifully written story about what we have, what we want, how we achieve our desires, and what, and whom, we are willing to risk for our own benefit.’

Here are just a few of the other reviews the novel has received so far…

‘World Fantasy Award winner Tidhar takes readers back to the fascinating far-future world of 2016’s CENTRAL STATION in this gentle narrative about self-fulfillment and one robot’s quest to reunite with a lost love… Tidhar offers a heartfelt exploration of artificially intelligent beings’ struggles to find existential meaning while being restrained by both coding and form. Fans of literary sci-fi are sure to be enchanted by the imaginative worldbuilding and tenderly wrought characters.’Publishers Weekly

‘Tidhar’s narrative takes on a gentle, ruminative air, and while that helps establish the atmosphere of a convincing, lived-in city, veteran SF readers will also find plenty of playful and affectionate Easter eggs… Neom easily joins the list of SF cities we’d like to visit.’Locus

‘[A] delight­ful jour­ney through a fan­ta­sy of out­er space and a future Mid­dle East. Tidhar’s world con­tains lik­able char­ac­ters who work togeth­er (some­times acci­den­tal­ly, some­times begrudg­ing­ly) to tell a sto­ry full of adven­ture, mys­tery, hope, and love… Tid­har writes sci­ence fic­tion with real-world par­al­lels and comedic tim­ing, if also a bit of a ten­den­cy toward hope­ful romanticism… NEOM is a won­der­ful read for any lover of sci­ence fic­tion. For some­one who has not yet vis­it­ed the world of CENTRAL STATION — Tidhar’s nov­el from 2016 — it is easy to catch on to the col­lo­qui­alisms and cus­toms of the sto­ry uni­verse. But after read­ing NEOM, new Tid­har fans will sure­ly want to go back for more.’Jewish Book Council

‘… hauntingly beautiful… Written in a straightforward but luminous style… NEOM is a treasure… a compelling chapter in this future history that reflects so much about who we are and the basic things we yearn for.’SciFi Mind

‘Lavie Tidhar’s NEOM is a stunning return to his world of CENTRAL STATION, twinning the fates of humans and robots alike at a futuristic city on the edge of the Red Sea.’Green Man Review

‘This was superb and I’m in awe of Tidhar’s vision. He’s conjured up a futuristic city that feels simultaneously ultramodern and also run down. The rich histories of the region and its cultures are seamlessly interwoven into the fabric of this fully-realized world.’Speculative Shelf

‘This is a book of hearts and of the heart, be it human or robot, and that is something that is universal, be it ourselves or in “the other”. The “other”, in Tidhar’s work, is us, and we are the other. We are all us, and in NEOM, we feel for that other, in the personage of the robots, in the human characters, and we take them, and their stories, into us.’File 770

Lavie’s other 2022 novel, in case you missed it, is MAROR, which has been selected as a best book of the year by The Guardian and The Economist. It is out now, published by Head of Zeus.

10 Minutes with James P. Blaylock

James P. Blaylock joins the growing number of Zeno clients who have guested on Jonathan Strahan’s excellent ’10 Minutes With’ series on the Coode Street Podcast. The episode is embedded above, or you can find it on your regular podcast app.

James P. Blaylock is the author of, most recently, THE GOBBLIN’ SOCIETY — a new Langdon St. Ives novella, published by Subterranean Press in North America and Limited Edition Hardcover, and by JABberwocky elsewhere. Here’s the synopsis…

For more than thirty years, James P. Blaylock has enthralled and delighted readers with a series of stories, novels and novellas featuring Langdon St. Ives, adventurer, man of science, Victorian gentleman. The best of these, such as Beneath London, Lord Kelvin’s Machine, andThe Aylesford Skull are among the most stylish, consistently witty entertainments of recent years. The Gobblin’ Society, the latest episode in St. Ives’s colorful career, belongs very much in that company.

The story begins with an inheritance. Following a protracted legal battle, Alice St. Ives, Langdon’s wife, has come into full possession of Seaward, the house left to her by her late Uncle Godfrey, a man with a number of bizarre proclivities. Heartened by this good fortune, Alice, Langdon and their surrogate son Finn prepare to take possession of the house. From this point forward, events spin out of control, taking on a madcap logic of their own that is exhilarating and — in typical Blaylock fashion — often quite funny. 

What follows is, in a sense, a tale of two houses. The first, of course, is Seaward, a “rambling, eccentric old house” with it its history, its secrets, its priceless accumulation of volumes of arcane lore. The other is a neighboring house known, for good reasons, as “Gobblin’ Manor,” home base of The Gobblin’ Society, a “culinary establishment” with its own peculiar — and very dark — traditions. In the course of an event filled few days, St. Ives and his cohorts will encounter smuggling, mesmerism, kidnapping, cannibalism and murder. It is, in other words, a typical — and typically eccentric — Langdon St. Ives adventure.

Like its predecessors, this latest extravaganza is fast-paced, unpredictable, and a thorough delight to read. Few novelists evoke the essence of Victorian England as successfully as Blaylock. Fewer still bring such wit, style, and propulsive narrative talents to the task. In The Gobblin’ Society, Blaylock has given vibrant new life to one of his signature creations. The result is a gift both for Blaylock’s longtime fans, and for newcomers lucky enough to come along for this astonishing — and thoroughly enjoyable — ride.

Blaylock’s Langdon St. Ives novels are published in the UK and North America by Titan Books, and his novellas are published by Subterranean Press (North America) and JABberwocky (elsewhere in English).

Other clients who have appeared on the show include Lavie Tidhar, Aliette de Bodard, Ian McDonald, and also Zeno Managing Director John Berlyne.

10 Minutes with Aliette de Bodard, and an OF DRAGONS, FEASTS AND MURDERS Reading

Today, we wanted to draw your attention to two bits of Aliette de Bodard-related media. First, Aliette was recently a guest on Jonathan Strahan’s Coode Street Podcast 10 Minutes With series. You can listen to that episode below…

John Berlyne, Lavie Tidhar and Ian McDonald have also been guests on the podcast’s 10 Minutes With series.

Secondly, the Super Relaxed Fantasy Club has shared a video of Aliette reading from her latest book, the Dominion of the Fallen novella OF DRAGONS, FEASTS AND MURDER! Check it out…

The book is due to be published by JABberwocky on July 7th, 2020.

The Dominion of the Fallen novels are published by Gollancz in the UK, Roc Books (#1-2) and JABberwocky (#3) in North America, and in a growing number of translated editions. They are also available as audiobooks.

John Berlyne Interviewed on Coode Street Podcast!

Zeno Managing Director and Agent John Berlyne has been interviewed for Jonathan Strahan’s Coode Street Podcast! Part of the “10 Minutes With” series of episodes, it is intended to bring together ‘readers and booklovers from around the world talk about what they’re reading right now and what’s getting them through these difficult times.’

The episode covers a lot of ground (it is actually over 30 minutes), many books, and the state of publishing today.

We hope you enjoy the interview!

If you’d like more Zeno-related podcast goodness, both Ian McDonald and Lavie Tidhar have also also been guests for the 10 Minutes With series…

Ian is the author of, most recently, the critically-acclaimed Luna series, published by Tor Books (North America), Gollancz (UK) and Tor.com (prequel novella).

Lavie is the author of, most recently BY FORCE ALONE — out now in the UK, published by Head of Zeus; and due to be published in North America by Tor Books in August. He is also the author of the critically-acclaimed, award-winning CENTRAL STATION, UNHOLY LAND and THE VIOLENT CENTURY, which are published in North America and in the UK by Tachyon Publications.

Lavie Tidhar Talks Writing, Genre, and More

Recently, Lavie Tidhar stopped by the Coode Street Podcast to chat about A MAN LIES DREAMING, his upcoming book CENTRAL STATION and more…

We discussed his sometimes controversial approach to alternate history, the question of borrowing tropes from pulp fiction in portraying serious events such as the Holocaust and terrorism, the importance of American SF writers like Cordwainer Smith, his own experiences growing up in a kibbutz and what he read there, and the never-ending question of genre literature vs “literary” fiction.

Lavie Tidhar won the World Fantasy Award-winning for his novel OSAMA; and the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Award-winning A MAN LIES DREAMING. He is also the author of the critically-acclaimed THE VIOLENT CENTURY, and a considerable number of short stories and novellas. You can read one of his latest short stories, TERMINAL, is available to read on Tor.com.

THE VIOLENT CENTURY and A MAN LIES DREAMING are both published in the UK by Hodder. A MAN LIES DREAMING is also available in a Limited Edition (PS Publishing), in Italy (Frassinelli) and was published in the US by Melville House, in March 2016. THE VIOLENT CENTURY is published in the US by Thomas Dunne Books. His next book is CENTRAL STATION, which is due to be published in May 2016, by Tachyon Publications — you can read an excerpt over on Tor.com.